Following the recent wave of public debate surrounding the new visa immigration regulations, Wesgro, the official destination marketing, investment and trade promotion agency for the Western Cape, hosted a workshop for around 250 members of the tourism and business sector in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs.
The workshop was a move towards increased communication and clarity on key aspects of the new regulations for members of the tourism and business sector. With the new regulations here to stay, the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) Cape region saw this platform as one that encourages conversation and engagement – a step towards government and the tourism industry moving forward together.
Speakers included: Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro; Fatima Chohan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs; and Ronney Marhule from the Immigration Service Department.
Rob Kucera, chairman of Fedhasa Cape, says: “With the new regulations implemented just over a month ago, members of the tourism and hospitality industry have experienced difficulties in the implementation of the new visa regulations. It is encouraging to see Wesgro and the Department of Home Affairs host a workshop of this nature where those directly impacted are engaged in a spirit of collaboration to examine the procedures that will assist in simplifying the admin systems and processes.”
As the watchdog and lobbying body for the hospitality industry, Fedhasa Cape along with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa will continue to engage in positive dialogue with Wesgro. Together they will operate as a task team to forge a way forward, with representation from all relevant government departments and industry role players.
In addition, Fedhasa Cape is also working with various industry associations, including the City of Cape Town and the Province, to position the Western Cape as a yearlong destination.
Kucera adds: “There is no doubt that due to the new visa regulations we have challenging times ahead. As the industry body for the hospitality sector we are committed to encouraging these conversations for the benefit of the tourism industry and ultimately to safeguard the international tourist impression of South Africa as a holiday destination of choice.”
The travel and tourism sector directly employs some 679 500 people and is growing at a rate of 3% and contributes 9.4% directly and indirectly to South Africa’s GDP. – Hotel & Restaurant Magazine